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Former Florida congresswoman convicted of fraud

[JURIST] Former congresswoman Corrine Brown was convicted of fraud on Thursday. Brown represented the Jacksonville, Florida district from 1993 to 2017 as part of the Democratic party. She had lost re-election last fall after her indictment. Brown was convicted of 18 out of 22 charges related to the misuse of funds from the charity One Door for Education. The charity was meant to provide scholarships, but the court found [Florida Times-Union report] it had only given out one $1,200 scholarship to an unidentified person, despite bringing in $800,000 between 2012 and 2016. The rest was spent on lavish parties, trips, and shopping excursions. Brown's former chief of staff, Elias "Ronnie" Simmons, and the charity's president, Carla Wiley, both previously pleaded guilty to misusing the charity's funds and testified against Brown. Sentencing is expected to take place in about 90 days. Brown, who is currently 70, could potentially spend the rest of her life in prison. Brown still maintains her innocence, blaming the theft solely on Simmons.

Brown was convicted of 12 counts of aiding and abetting wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, three counts of filing a false US individual tax return, one count of engaging in a scheme to conceal material facts, and one count of corruptly endeavoring to obstruct or impede the due administration of the Internal Revenue Laws. The conviction comes less than a year after a federal appeals court refused [JURIST report] to dismiss corruption charges against US Democratic Senator Bob Menendez. Menendez is expected to face trial [Washington Examiner report] this fall on those charges.

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